No Palm i705 for Christmas
During a conference call earlier today, Palm's CEO Carl Yankowski said that his company's new wireless handheld would not be announced this year after all. For months, Palm has been promising that a successor to the aging VIIx would be on the market before the end of 2001 and it even briefly received permission from the FCC to sell one, the Palm i705. That permission was later withdrawn at Palm's request.
But those plans have now changed. "We will not release this product during this holiday season," Mr. Yankowski said, noting that that the company believes that economic conditions aren't right for it to be a success.
"With an uncertainty [about] Christmas and consumers and after the terrorist attacks, we simply thought this wasn't the optimal time launch the product,'' Mr. Yankowski said. "So we are focusing our marketing dollars [on current handhelds] as opposed to deluding ourselves with the launch of another product. It's really not more complicated than that."
Update: A source at Palm who asked to remain anonymous said that the delay is only for a few weeks and the Palm VII replacement will be coming out in early 2002. The person went on to say that the company wouldn't have normally have even had to say anything about a delay this short except that they had promised the device for 2001.
The handheld apparntly in question, the Palm i705, has "always on" wireless access, which means it has the ability to check for e-mail even when the handheld itself is off. However, it lacks any voice capabilities.
According to rumor, Palm is working on the i725, a handheld that can do double duty as a mobile phone but that isn't expected until next year. Palm has nothing to say about this so there is no way to know how this decision will affect the i725, if it is real.
Handspring is developing wireless phones of its own that run the PalmOS. The Treo series has both wireless data and voice capabilities and is expected to be available before the end of this year.
The market is getting increasingly crowded. Kyocera has had a monochrome PalmOS smartphone on the market for months and Samsung is expected to announce one soon.
All of these have monochrome screens except the Samsung SPH-I300, which has an 8-bit color screen.
But it was also announced today that two possible participants will be bowing out. Motorola and Nokia have both decided to not create mobile phones that run the Palm OS.
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